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Hanks v. Singh

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

May 8, 2018

DAVIN HANKS (#399204), Plaintiff
v.
RAMEN SINGH, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is a civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983) filed by pro se Plaintiff Davin Hanks (“Hanks”) (#399204). Hanks has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.[1] (Doc. 8). Hanks is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (“DOC”), incarcerated at the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport, Louisiana (“RLCC”). Hanks complains that he has been deprived of adequate dental care, and he names as Defendants Ramen Singh, Dr. George Smith, and Sandra Sibley.

         Because Hanks cannot establish that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference, his complaint should be dismissed.

         I. Background

         Upon his arrival at RLCC, Hanks received a dental evaluation revealing “decayed teeth, missing teeth, and poor oral hygiene.” (Doc. 12-1, p. 1). Hanks was provided pain medication. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Two months later, Hanks initiated a sick call due to tooth pain. (Doc. 1, p. 8; Doc. 12-1, p. 1). It is alleged that Nurse Sibley advised Hanks it could be a while before he would see a dentist, as there was no dentist at RLCC at that time. Hanks was given a six-month prescription of Motrin 600 mg for pain. (Doc. 1, p. 8; Doc. 12-1, p. 1).

         Hanks next complained of dental pain on February 11, 2016. (Doc. 12-1, p. 1). He was referred to the new RLCC dentist, and examined on February 22, 2016. Hanks had several follow-up appointments involving extractions and fillings. (Doc. I, p. 9; Doc. 12-1, p. 1). Hanks alleges the extractions were necessitated by the seven-month delay in seeing a dentist. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Hanks's complaint is subject to screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         Hanks is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, Hanks's complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Hanks's complaint is also subject to screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it fails to plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).

         B. Hanks cannot state an Eighth Amendment claim.

         Prison officials violate the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment when they act with “deliberate indifference” to the serious medical needs of prisoners. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, (1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976). Deliberate indifference “is an extremely high standard to meet.” Gobert v. Caldwell, 463 F.3d 339, 346 (5th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). An inmate must show that prison personnel “refused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly evidence a wanton disregard for any serious medical needs.” Domino v. Tex. Dep't Crim. J., 239 F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001) (quoting Johnson v. Treen, 759 F.2d 1236, 1238 (5th Cir. 1985)).

         A delay in medical care violates the Eighth Amendment only if the delay is based on deliberate indifference, and it results in substantial harm. See ...


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